Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Series: Unearthly #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing date: Jan 4th, 2011
Pages: 435
Buy it: Amazon

Summary: In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Rating: 4 stars

This is my first Angel Book, and after hearing so much about Hush, Hush, Fallen and the likes, I wasn't expecting much. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this story. It was well-written, with likeable, engaging characters, an intriguing (if not very original) plot and a good mythology to back it up.

I found the pacing perfect. The plot was revealed pretty quickly and I didn't have any problem getting into the book, which hasn't happened in quite some time. The heroin, Clara, is a strong, funny narrator and I really enjoyed getting to know her. I love her relationship with Tucker, the push and pull, the teasing, everything. The unravelling of the romance between them was sweet, believable, very well-done and I adored reading about their summer adventures. It was like I was there with Clara, feeling the summer heat on my skin, the freedom of being a teenager newly in love, and this, combined with the supernatural elements make for a very interesting story.

I also liked seeing Clara trying to find her purpose and figure out what she could and could not do as an angel blood. Her mother, Maggie, acts as a guide and for once, I didn't dislike the parental figure. Actually, Maggie is quite awesome, and seems to have a very intriguing back story that I can't wait to find out more about.

One thing I didn't like was the love triangle. It felt forced. There is no competition between Tucker and Christian, and I felt like the attraction between Christian and Clara was poorly handled. It's not a problem or fridge-magnet attraction (actually, Clara handled that really well. Like I said, I love that girl), it's just that I didn't see the point of introducing Christian as a potential love interest. It wasn't exploited fully, neither in one way nor the other, and even if it's obvious we'll know more about it in book 2, I'm left feeling confused and wanting more.

Also, while I liked the fact that Clara met other angel bloods in Jackson Hole (I'm being very vague here to avoid spoiling), at the end of the book, I wondered: what are the odds of finding several angelic creatures in a town that small (about 20,000 inhabitants, if I remember correctly)? Are angel bloods that common, or is there a particular reason they all seem to gravitate there? I would have liked the author to at least elude to an answer, because right now, it looks like it's all a big happy coincidence.

Despite that, I really enjoyed Unearthly. It was a quick, compelling read and I couldn't put it down. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel.

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)


Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I agree with you. I enjoyed this one and the triangle did feel forced, but didn't interfere with the story. I just want the next one so I know what is going to happen!

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

This is my favourite angel book. I really am not a fan of theme but this one was awesome. I loved Clara and Tucker and thought they had the sweetest romance. Great review. Glad you enjoyed it!

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